Two years ago in the biggest tournament of the year, an emergency forced me to be awake until 5:30am. At 5:30am I had the choice to go to sleep for a an hour or two then get up and make my 8:00am tee time. Instead I chose to just stay up. In the toughest, most intense conditions I’d see all year with no sleep for two days, I shot a 73.
This weekend I was up all night Saturday night frying my brain, trying to debug the HOG server problems. I remember looking over at the clock to see that it said 5:00am. I did go to sleep a few minutes later, but woke up at 7:15. Two hours sleep, max.
I then went on to shoot a 74 in high winds.
So should I just party all night and get no sleep before every golf round then?
I’m trying to figure out why I play better when I’m so tired. I have to possible reasons, which could individually or in combined fashion contribute to my low scores.
The first reason is my level of relaxation. I’m not hyped up to play. I’m moving slower. My tempo is slower. I really think being tired helps slow my tempo down, which is good.
The second reason is simply not expecting to play well. I’m not mentally intense about the round. If I make a bogey or two I don’t really care because I’m not expecting to play my best anyway. I’m able to shake off bad shots or bad breaks in about three seconds. My nerves are non existent and can’t get in the way of low scores.
Applying it to a regular, fully rested round
After yesterday’s 74 I decided that for my next round or two I’m going to perform some mental experiments. I’m going to try and replicate my pace, tempo, demeanor on the course. I’m going to be mellow and swing nice and slow. If I hit a bad shot or catch a bad break I’m not going to sweat it.
If a picture is worth 1000 words, here is 8000 words